Thursday, January 15, 2009


So we haven't posted for a while, right? I've had some ideas of things to write about, but none of them actually deserved a whole posting. I'm just going to roll them all up into a summary posting of all of my musings on the changes we've experienced.

First off, my stress level is way lower here. I have physical proof. My blood pressure was always between 120-130 over 80-90. It has consistently been 100/60 or lower since moving here. The first time it was taken, the poison ivy incident- I thought it was a fluke. Not so, my midwife takes it monthly now and it was 98/50 something last Friday. Life is slower here! Maybe I'm just sensitive, and not predisposed to have high blood pressure - and it has nothing to do with the salt in my diet :) I also sleep better; there are only a few nights I have trouble falling asleep, something that has always plagued me...not anymore!

Traffic. We've mentioned this before- there is none! Well, none as far as our perception goes. A very bad day for Eric means it took 25 minutes to get home. That happened once, last night in the cold cold when ice was forming on the roads. When we were back on NoVA for the holiday we drove all over everywhere and couldn't stop gaping at the sheer size of the roads and the number of cars on them. Traffic on Waxpool in Ashburn NEVER stops. Even on a weekday in the middle of the afternoon there are at least as many cars on that road as there on 46 at rush hour here.

Next: it does get colder here, and I did once say that I didn't want to move anywhere colder than Fairfax County. However, because of how far south we are and how close to the western edge of the Eastern time zone we are located, the sun sets quite a bit later here. It does also rise later, but that has always been my preference (I am so not a morning person). So, even as the temperature has dropped, the days haven't gotten as short as they used to. I don't think the sun has set before 5:15 all winter. Mostly in the winter, you'll be starting your day in the dark, so maybe it starts a little later, but, at least to my perception, when the sun sets really determines how long the day is. So the days feel longer and sunnier. It's all a perception thing, but to me so long as it's not cold and dark I don't feel like I'm in a total winter deep freeze. If it's cold and sunny, the brightness and length of the day somehow compensates for the cold.

Groceries are cheaper, my mother even remarked on it when we were shopping at Walmart when she visited. Firewood is abundant and free if you have a chainsaw. Cities and towns have distinct borders. We have to have a subscription to get our local paper online because it is too small to have enough revenue to offer it free to everyone. Our football team goes to the playoffs. There are trailers next to regular homes. People move out of their parents' homes and into trailers on their parents' property (does that really count as moving out?). It's hilly and no one believes it until they have been here. It takes longer to mail letters to people because our hub is either Indy or Cincinnati. I have to dash across the street to get the mail.

All in all we're very happy with the change, though we hope people will come visit and see how nice it is :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

carport: part 4

Lots of work on the carport! I was planning on waiting until I got the roof on before posting this, but it's been a long haul. I've got the posts in, the trusses up, the roof beams across, and about half of the roofing panels on. Once those are up (hopefully finished this weekend), I'll break for the winter. And then it will be walls, window, trim, and paint in the Spring.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

new pictures!! (and some old ones :) )

So, for those of you who are not on Facebook, or don't get over there very often...I wanted to share all of our recent pictures!

Divided up by album:
Pictures of the boys dressed up, getting free burgers at Wee Willie's and trick or treating at the mall on Halloween

We had a blast pumpkin carving

We had a visit from Grandma and Grandpa early in October

The boys went on a Field Trip to the Apple Works Farm with their Homeschool group and Nana and Grandpa

Many of the pictures of the kitchen remodel are already on here, but this album includes the full tranformation

We also painted and put down laminate flooring in the dining room

And...during the kitchen remodeling project...I got stuck behind my washing machine and couldn't stop laughing, and this was too funny not to share!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

carport: part 3

Real progress on the carport project this weekend! I got my little "work area" set up under a dining canopy borrowed from our camping gear and set off with Mark and Dean early Saturday morning to do some shopping. They didn't sell ten-foot 4x6s at Lowe's so I ended up with more 12-footers then I wanted to deal with, but that's the way it goes. The van was really weighed down with all the lumber and bags of concrete, but we made it back home okay, dragging our bumper all the way. Okay, not really, but you know what I mean.

The posts were heavy, but once the holes were measured and marked (tougher then it sounds since I'm building into a slope) holes were dug. I rented an earth auger from the True Value to get the digging done ($41 for a half day including insurance) and drilled holes for my gate posts, too. Totally worth it - I never would have been able to do the job with a regular post hole digger. 18 holes in all, eight inches in diameter.

Then, some gravel borrowed from the driveway, some scrap wood for supports, and all 18 posts got set in, down to the bedrock, and surrounded by concrete. I went for the expensive no-mix concrete (dump in the 50 pound bag and then put a gallon of water on top) which was another time-saving extra expense, but also one that truly made the job easier considering the price difference was only about $2.40 a bag.

The next step is to figure out the height and angle of the roof, lop off the posts at the right height, and get the roof beams installed. Hopefully some of that can happen during the week this week so I can get a roof on this thing before it gets much colder!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

halloween decorations

Not a lot of decorations, but three pumpkins, a spooky litte fence with little mini pumpkins, a goofy light up plastic pumpkin (thanks Tris' mom!), and a couple big inflatable pumpkins (one from a super after Halloween sale last year and one from craigslist a couple weeks ago). Oh, and a little 4 foot skeleton on the hickory tree (what, not another pumpkin?)

But the real point of this post is that it's lots of fun being on a busy road. Back at the townhouse we were tucked in our little corner and only the few folks on our little dead-end row of townhouses ever got to see our super-sweet Halloween set ups (like the castle photo below!).

But now, we get literally thousands of cars every day! Mark and I were actually getting the occassional honk or yell of approval as we were setting things up. It's great to know my "work" is appreciated! Haha!

Of course, moving in and taking care of some home improvements left us with a fairly minimalistic set up, I'm already scheming for next year. I'm hoping to have a couple of flying Axworthy ghosts, more pumpkins, a large graveyard set-up with a crank ghost in a mausoleum, and maybe even a gigantic spider attacking the house!

Of course, Halloween decorating is fun, but what really has me excited is Christmas! I've maybe doubled my count of lights since we moved (thanks to the healthy Indiana yard sale industry), so it should be a massive display worthy of those who travel down Union Valley Road.

Monday, October 20, 2008

indiana limestone

We've had some visitors lately - my mom and dad and Vicki and Ron (on back-to-back weekends, no less!) Plus Tris' Aunt Mellon and Cousin Colleen. So we've been doing some touring and doing our best to share what we know of our new Indiana home (ooh, look - there's the stadium! And we have two Bed Bath and Beyonds!). One of the things I attempted to describe was the significance of Indiana Limestone - specifically how it relates to Ellettsville, whos Welcome sign proclaims that they are the "Builders of American History."

The only things I could say were what I've kind of gleaned from talking with folks at work and what I've read in the paper - there's lots of quarries around, lots of IU's buildings are built out of limestone, and I think they repaired the Pentagon with limestone from Ellettsville after 9/11. Turns out I was mostly (vaguely) right. Read what I read at Wikipedia to find out more - there's actually some interesting stuff in there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

carport: part 2

I never get permits for any of my home improvement projects but after discovering that I could get some engineering consulting along with my little orange window sign, I decided to do it. Of course, the fact that I was planning on constructing a 32 x 20' building less then 40' from a main roadway made this seem like the kind of project I should let the County know about.

So not being a professional or having blueprints or real plans of any kind, I simply handed in a couple of my Google Sketch-Up printouts, a rough materials list, and a scrap of paper with a little drawing on it. That apparently was enough for them and they approved my application. When I picked up the permit down at the Courthouse (and handed over $80 of my hard-earned money), I made an appointment for a consultation. And that brings us up to today.

I had a great conversation with an older guy, Bill, who looked at a couple of my drawings. He was really cool and took the time to understand my ideas as if he was actually enjoying looking at them. As a matter of fact, everyone at the Courthouse has been this way on my couple of visits. So we went through, step by step, and talked about the depth of my footers, the size and spacing of roof beams, how I should create windbreaks to prevent updrafts, and lots of other things.

Bill could have blown me off and stuck to a hard line of "we can't help you design it for liability reasons" but he didn't. We spent about 40 minutes together - me the novice do-it-yourselfer and he the experienced public servant and engineer. I've never had such a pleasant experience interacting with government.

But anyway, now I am fully armed with confidence that I can accomplish this project. I think I might be able to get started next weekend - should be fun!